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Snohomish County releases preliminary election results

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert. - Courtesy photo.
Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert.
— image credit: Courtesy photo.

In the wake of the special election on Tuesday, April 22, the city of Arlington looks to be passing its proposed permanent levy lid lift, while the Lakewood School District is on the knife’s edge of possibly passing its proposed building bond to improve Lakewood High School, on its second time on the ballot.

As of Thursday, April 24, at 3:43 p.m., the city of Arlington’s proposition had received 1,482 votes to approve it, or 52.65 percent of the vote, and 1,333 votes to reject it, or 47.35 percent of the vote, while the Lakewood School District’s proposition had received 1,981 votes to approve it, or 60.05 percent of the vote, and 1,318 votes to reject it, or 39.95 percent of the vote.

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert and Lakewood School District interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Mack both expressed what they called “cautious optimism” regarding the prospects of their respective propositions, each of which they deemed vitally important for their own citizens.

“We realize that it was a difficult time to conduct an election, with everything else that’s been going on locally, but we can’t control those circumstances,” Tolbert said, alluding to the March 22 Oso mudslide. “We are pleased that so many voters were still paying attention to this election, and able to receive their ballots.”

Indeed, Tolbert suspects that the visibility of the local first responders’ roles in addressing the aftermath of the slide might have further impressed upon citizens the need to keep those services funded, at least to their current levels.

“They were shouldering a major responsibility, when you think about it,” Tolbert said. “Our police officers and firefighters have had to respond not only to the emergency and recovery needs of the Oso community, but also to all the continued regular needs of the Arlington community. I think many people thought twice about it, and found that they weren’t any more comforted than I was by the prospect of having less of those resources to rely upon.”

Tolbert admitted that the apparent passage of the levy lid lift made the Arlington City Council’s planned retreat a far less stressful prospect.

“If this proposition wasn’t going to pass, the City Council would have to act immediately,” Tolbert said. “We were actually preparing two different scripts for that retreat, depending on how the vote turned out, so it’s a relief that we seem likely to be going with ‘Plan A,’ because the alternative of reducing our services further would be heartbreaking.”

Mack is faced with a much closer margin in the LHS improvement bond vote results, but he cited statistical evidence for his guardedly positive outlook.

“On Tuesday night, we had 59.15 percent of the vote,” Mack said on Thursday, April 24. “By Wednesday night, that was up to 60.08 percent, which meant we were leading by literally two votes. Obviously, that’s not a lot, but we’re trending in the right direction, especially because, out of the roughly 250 votes that we expect have yet to counted, we figure that 65 percent of those will be in favor of the bond.”

Unlike the city of Arlington’s proposition, the Lakewood School District’s proposed bond must meet a 60 percent supermajority in order to pass, a mark which it narrowly fell short of on the Feb. 11 ballot. Regardless of the outcome, though, Mack is already proud of Lakewood voters for their demonstrated civil concern in this election.

“If you look at the county-wide average for returned ballots by April 22, it was 27 percent, about the same as Everett,” Mack said. “For Lakewood, that rate of return was 39.6 percent. Our voters are over-performing those of the rest of the county, which is doubly satisfying, because it means that we have this much of a percentage of voters who are voting yes on this bond, within a greater percentage of voters than other cities and school districts who have voted in this election. Even if you voted no on the bond, I’m glad to see that you cared enough about your community to vote.”

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